Saturday, November 29, 2008
Without Accepting It
Of Note: Arthur C. Clarke was quite a guy. Best known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, this visionary was not only a prolific science fiction writer, he also was a great thinker, who was fascinated with the myriad possibilities of space exploration and believed that "any sufficiently advanced technology was indistinguishable from magic." Clarke originally trained in physics before turning to writing full-time. Always ahead of the pack, Clarke's writings included references to communications satellites and computers way before they were in use and, of course, space travel for which he was famous. Mystical references peppered his writing. In his March obituary, TIME magazine commented that his tales "often came back to the theme of humankind gaining enlightenment from contact with alien life. He believed E.T.s would send a sign, noting last year, 'We have no way of guessing when. . .I hope sooner than later.' " The dream was apparently not fulfilled before he died at the age of 90. I say apparently because, even if sent, the signal might not have been recognized yet. That is a far-reaching thought Arthur Clarke himself might have entertained.
Today's Weather Report: This day is cloudy with temps in the low thirties. Light is streaking across the sky and looks like long, electric fingers. Maybe Mr. Clarke is saying hello from the other side. Marie is saying hello with her photo of a whimsical tree fairy taken at a East Texas nursery.
Watch For Change Snippet: Some start their global work young. Andrea Riccardi was one of those. He knew in high school that the world needed prayer and the poor needed help. To him it was a simple problem that required a simple solution. So, in 1968 he formed a group in Rome to pray and help the poor. Since then his influence has spead much farther than the Italian capital and his group, the Community of Sant'Egidio, has grown to 70,000 volunteers in 73 countries. While their original mission is at the forefront, the successful organization has also been called upon to negotiate peace in war-torn areas such as the Middle East, the Balkans, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Riccardi's technique is as simple as his original vision. He sees "peacemaking not as a bargaining but as a conversion, transforming the person who was your enemy into a mere political opponent." This visionary goes on to say that it "hardly makes for an alliance, but it gets the adversaries talking--and that can keep them from shooting." Recent successes include persuading a Ugandan warlord to come out of the bush for trial in a regional court. Asked why this thug would surrender, Riccardi could only venture a guess: "Our lack of vested interest gives us moral authority." Or could it be the halo shining from his head?